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Press release Active Ottumwa and Hy-Vee

Contact: Becky Graeve at 641-683-3341 or email at [email protected]  

Becky Bucklin at 319-384-4025 or email at [email protected]

Ottumwa Hy-Vee Locations and Local Community Leaders to Continue Active Ottumwa

In a collaboration to continue a successful University of Iowa research project that has helped Ottumwa residents become more physically active, two Hy-Vee grocery stores in the southeast Iowa city have agreed to lead the innovative program beginning December 1.

The program, Active Ottumwa, was initiated in 2014 by the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center (UI PRC) in partnership with a Community Advisory Board (CAB)—a group of leaders from multiple influential Ottumwa organizations. The program has trained and organized volunteer Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) to lead free physical activities in various locations throughout the Ottumwa community. The research program ended in 2019 and follow-up evaluations have shown it was successful in getting people more active.

Since the initiation of the Active Ottumwa program, the plan was to transition it to a community-based organization if the research project was found to be successful. The two Ottumwa Hy-Vee grocery stores, with the continued guidance and support of the Active Ottumwa CAB, have agreed to lead the Active Ottumwa program. The program will be overseen by Becky Graeve, the registered dietitian at the North and South Hy-Vee locations in Ottumwa.

“As a Hy-Vee dietitian, my goal is to help our customers lead easier, healthier and happier lives,” said Graeve, an Ottumwa resident. “Working with Active Ottumwa fits nicely with the wellness activities that we are already providing at Hy-Vee.”

Former field coordinator, Ottumwa resident, and UI PRC staff member Sandy Berto said, “I am excited to see the Active Ottumwa program continue to grow and thrive under the leadership of Becky Graeve and Hy-Vee! I look forward to hearing about the progress of the program in the community and thank all who have participated and led activities in the last several years!”

Active Ottumwa will continue to build on the strong relationships with community organizations and individuals to provide free opportunities for physical activity to Ottumwa residents. To find out more about Active Ottumwa’s upcoming events, check out the Active Ottumwa Facebook page.

The UI PRC will serve as an advisor to the Active Ottumwa program and will support the CAB and Hy-Vee throughout this transition. In the next five years, the UI PRC staff will attempt to duplicate Active Ottumwa’s success in other communities across the state of Iowa through a program called Active Iowa.

For more information about Active Ottumwa and the program’s leadership change or to become involved in the program, contact Graeve at [email protected] To learn more about Active Iowa, contact Becky Bucklin at [email protected]

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